by Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin
Winter Jasmine is known for its pink buds that open to delicate, 5-petaled, star-shaped flowers with an intoxicating fragrance. This climbing jasmine from China has a profuse display of fragrant white flowers that appear in the dead of winter. It is the national flower in many countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines. Jasmine is also a popular girl’s name in many countries including the United States.
Winter Jasmine is a fast grower whose vining branches can extend many feet in a single summer climbing on any structure that is nearby. Easy to cultivate in containers, it can be grown on a stake or trellis where periodic wrapping of the vining branches onto the trellis will keep it contained along with seasonal pruning of mature plants. It is also a good plant for hanging baskets where, with a little encouragement, it makes a spectacular specimen.
How do I get my Winter Jasmine to flower?
Flower bud initiation is caused by subjecting the plant to cool night temperatures in the fall and early winter. If this is done over a period of many weeks, flower buds will appear at the leaf axis near the terminal growth. As a rule of thumb, temperatures in the mid to low fifties down to just above freezing are needed for this chill period. It is important to keep the developing buds in this nighttime coolness until the bracts and individual flowers are visibly formed. If moved too quickly into a warm (above 60°) growing area, they will go back into vegetative growth and although a few flowers might reach maturity, the display will be diminished. For most growing areas, this means that the cool nights of fall and early winter are the best time to initiate the flowering cycle with a full blooming plant arriving in mid-February. Here at Logee’s, some years the flowers arrive in early January when we have a cold fall, in other years, flowers arrive in late February to early March if the prior fall was warm.